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Professor Li Judan: The Protection of New Plant Varieties

Professor Li Judan, an associate research fellow at CASS Center for Intellectual Property Studies, was recently interviewed by the newspaper China Intellectual Property News on the protection of new plant varieties. In the interview, Professor Li expressed the following opinions:

Currently, the litigation relating to new plant varieties in China shows the following tendencies: first, the increase in the number of lawsuits, resulting from the increasing in the number of new plant varieties entering into the market; second, the increase in the number of serial disputes, resulting from the failure by parties to correctly handle the complicated legal relations of cooperative breeding and cooperative commercial development; and third, the increase in the number of high-award cases, resulting from good economic returns and widespread plantation of the new plant varieties involved and long litigation proceedings.

”The increase in the number of litigation and especially in the number of typical cases is of positive significance to the protection of new plant species. They are conducive to promoting the commercial value of new plant species, encouraging enterprises to submit application for the protection of the right to new plant varieties. Meanwhile, they also serve as a warning to these who infringe upon theirs’ right to new plant variety and remind them to acquire the permit to use new plant varieties through lawful channels.

In the future, China should take multiple measures to strengthen the protection of new plant varieties. At the legislative level, it should adopt the Law on the Protection of New Animal and Plant Varieties as soon as possible and establish the corresponding supporting systems and institutions; at the law enforcement level, it should strengthen agricultural administrative law enforcement, adopt effective measures to crackdown on counterfeiting and other infringements against the right to new plant varieties, and establish a good competition order in the seed market. Enterprises and individuals engaged in innovative plant breeding should protect the fruits of their innovation in accordance with law, clearly specify the scope of rights and conditions of implementation when carrying out cooperation with others. Meanwhile, they should choose professional intellectual property lawyers to provide them with high-quality intellectual property right service and adhere to the idea of protection of intellectual property throughout the process of commercial development, so as to effectively protect their own lawful rights and interests.